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Hi , I am trying to find out - can a standard MRI scan ( not with a contrast dye ) on a shoulder be quantified / measured in a percentage or in millimetres of the damaged area a " partial thickness tear of the supraspinatus " on the bursal side and the articular side , or would I as a patient have to specifically request beforehand if I wanted the scan to show dimensions of any damage or would this be done as standard , even though this type of scan takes very very thin slice type images can it be measured , I am in the UK ? .

Category: Radiologist

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Category: Radiologist
 30 Doctors Online

Thank you for your query at
Most routine MRI for shoulder , without contrast , will definitely give you the percentage & the exact measurement of the supraspinatus tear or for that matter any muscle of the rotator cuff,including the glenoid labrum & other ligaments near by.
It would help if your inform your radiologist for the specific muscle tear , as then he may cater the examination to the same & decide to do a scan with shear & weight bearing , if he deems neccessary. Also he will run a special intra-articular MRI sequence , which delineated the muscle along its entire length . Most likley contrast is NOT required to diagnose tears of muscles
Feel free to discuss further,

Dr. Rohit Malik

Patient replied :

Dear Dr Rohit Malik Thankyou for reply to my query regarding the partial tearing of the supraspinatus tendon . What does it mean - " Most " routine MRI for shoulder , ? , does this mean they will all give percentage & the exact measurements , unless something is wrong with the machine or operater experience etc . My scan revealed - moderate ACJ arthropathy, evidence of previous surgery with marked tendinopathy/scarring of the subscapularistendon attachement , poorly defined proximal biceps tendon without definate retraction . There is an impression of superior labral tear and extensive partial thickness tearing of the supraspinatus tendon attachment both on the articular and bursal sides but no significant tendon retraction or associated rotator cuff muscle atrophy. I have been told because the MRI takes many many slices/images that they carnt quantify my partial tendon damage to the supraspinatus , i am assuming from your answer to my initial question also that i have been missinformed ? Kind regards Mark Paterson

Dear Mark ,
You HAVE NOT been misinformed.
Your report is very specific & correct & honestly it has sufficient information regarding your treatment protocol to be followed by an orthopaedic surgeon & quantifying the tear , is just an academic exercise , which will NOT change your clinical management protocol in any way.

I would be glad to answer any more SPECIFIC queries you have regarding your report if any

Dr. Rohit Malik

Patient replied :

Dear Dr. Rohit Malik Because I am a very physical person and my job entails alot of over head work and I like to keep fit by going to the gym and other types of exercise , iam trying to assess how much in percentage or millimetres is torn on the damaged area of the supraspinatus or how much is still attached , thinking of how much care i need to take ie if its 50% or 60% plus still attached or possibly only 40% attachment etc . From my MRI scan there is no reason why not i carnt be supplied with this information if i requested it ? . Kind regards Mark Paterson

Dear Mark ,

I do understand your concern , considering the nature of yr job ...

However my suggestion would be to request your Radiologist to quantify the tear in terms of mms & percentage of full thickness of the supraspinatus in that case as it seems crucial to your treatment & follow up with graded exercise under the supervision of a qualified physiotherapist in your country

Hope this was helpful,

Dr. Rohit Malik

Patient replied :

Dear Dr. Rohit Malik Thankyou again , I really do appreciate your help and imput , that was again helpful in your last communication . Yes , thats all i want to know is the quantity of damage in mms & or percentage and that it was possible find this information from my MRI scan - which is clear now that my damage can be quantified . Also like you say it would probably best/preferable for me and a physiotherapist to know exactly how much damage there actually is before i commence with this type of exercise/treatment .
Many many thanks Mark Paterson

Hope I was of some help to you .
Wishing you a speedy recovery
God bless

Dr. Rohit Malik

Dr. Rohit Malik
Category: Radiologist
Residency, Fellowship: DNB, DMRD, DMRE, Diagnostic Radiology Residency Program, Seth G.S. Medical College & KEM Hospital, 1997 – 2001
Medical School: MBBS, Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS), Lokmanya TIlak Muncipal Medical College, 1991 – 1997
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